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War is a Racket (Liberty and Philosophy Series Book 1) Kindle Edition
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He says, for example, that the Germans cannot attack the US because they cannot reach our shores. This ignores the development of ICBMs, which Goddard and Von Braun were working on for the NAZIs at the time, as well as the creation of Army and Marine rapid deployment forces, equipped to establish a "beachhead" in a foreign nation and hold it for at least a month, now possessed by every world power today.
Despite this, the book is worth reading because it gives a view seldom discussed today; how war makes money for the children of the rich, while killing the children of the poor...
This edition contains five essays, and is the one to purchase. It contains the title essay, "War is a Racket," which is only 28 pages long. There are two other essays by Butler, "Common Sense Neutrality" which was a plea to stay out of what would become the Second World War (although he had carried the American flag throughout the world, he ended up in the isolationist camp), and "An Amendment for Peace." There is an introductory peace by Adam Parfrey which provides additional details on the plot to overthrow FDR, and the book concludes with some black and white pictures on the horrors of war, certainly updating Goya, since some are truly horrific, including the veteran with much of his face missing.
The title essay is a polemic, and it is short, but it is rich in ideas, so many of which are carefully air-brushed out of the main stream media. Butler commences by stating how many Americans grew truly rich because of the First World War: 21,000 became millionaires, or billionaires. He then goes on to identify some of the corporations, starting with du Pont, whose profits rose over pre-war levels by astounding percentages (for du Pont, it was more than 950%). He says it quite simply: "We must take the profit out of war." And proposes the mechanism: pay the corporate titans, and all others, the same wage as those in the trenches, which was $30 a month at the time, for the duration of the war. In this manner, they could show their patriotism, and they still have the advantage of not being shot at! Yes, "conscript capital." Butler also addresses how President Wilson, who had campaigned in 1916 on the platform that he had "kept us out of war," suddenly declared war six months after his re-election. (Ah, how history repeats, with LBJ proclaiming that "American boys should not be fighting Asian wars" and within six months, he too, would be sending the troops). Butler says that the reason, "stripped of its diplomatic language" was that an allied commission saw Wilson, said their cause was lost, and the American suppliers of their weaponry would not get their money back! So...
His essay on neutrality is also an interesting read, though in retrospect, the received wisdom is on the side of those who saw the ultimate evil of the Nazis, and felt it should have been crushed as early as possible.
Butler's work remains an essential read for anyone... and should that not be all of us...who wonders how we seem to get into wars so easily, yet have so much difficulty ending them. A very suitable read for Veterans' Day. 5-stars.
Butler explains the war machine with its winners and losers. The government colludes with its pet corporations. As they both profit, humanity as a whole pays for it through their own loss. Soldiers are made to pay for the most basic necessities, they have no bargaining power, and the government pawns them off with shiny medals.
Butler's approach to ending the cycle is by 1) conscripting the profiteers 2) allowing the military to vote on going to war or not 3) limiting warfare to defense purposes only.
Butler was certain that the "war to end all wars" was only the beginning of rampant wars as the 20th century would prove. He makes an emotional plea for mothers to hold on tightly to their boys. An assurance that I have been raising my son correctly in at least one way.
My only complaint is that I wish the book had been longer. I think Butler could have expanded on many issues considering his knowledge and experience.
It's a read you can enjoy in a single sitting. It'll probably make you uncomfortable. But, through discomfort comes growth.
A quick easy read suited for anyone as an introductory prelude to deeper study into the military-industrial engagement with government in the conduct and causes of war.
This is a three star review of a much deeper and larger five star issue.